watchdog ‘strikes a ringing blow on behalf of slaughterhouse cruelty’
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that monitoring of animal
welfare in British slaughterhouses is effective, despite secret filming
by Animal Aid that has found serious welfare breaches in six out of seven
randomly selected abattoirs.
ASA ruling came in response to a complaint about an April 2010 advert placed
by the national campaign group in six national newspapers. Titled Act Now
to Stop this Cruelty, the advert sought public support to minimise animal
suffering by having CCTV installed in every British abattoir.
group's footage shows pigs being repeatedly kicked in the head, sheep being
picked up by ears and fleeces and thrown across the room, and incompetent
and even sadistic use of electric stunning tongs. As a consequence of Animal
Aid’s evidence, nine slaughterers have been suspended or have had
their licences revoked – and legal action has either been taken or
is underway against those nine men, as well as against four slaughterhouse
claim in the Animal Aid advert, that '…there is no effective monitoring
system' in British abattoirs, was rejected by the ASA on the grounds that
there is a system in place for slaughterhouse 'spot checks' and ‘veterinary
inspections’. It was not Animal Aid’s contention, however, that
no system exists, only that the system is not effective.
ASA also ruled that the advertisement’s claim that slaughterhouses
routinely ignore the law and brutalise animals was ‘misleading, because
abattoirs were required to have fully trained animal welfare officers’.
In fact, UK abattoirs are not yet required to have welfare officers, although
this will be made compulsory under new slaughter regulations that come into
force on January 1st 2013. But whatever the title given to those currently
charged with animal welfare duties in abattoirs, Animal Aid’s evidence
demonstrates that the system is failing to eradicate widespread animal suffering.
its submission to the ASA, Animal Aid pointed out that even Tim Smith, the
Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – the slaughterhouse
regulatory body – supports Animal Aid’s call for CCTV to be
installed in all British abattoirs.
Aid told the ASA: ‘If [he was] convinced that monitoring in British
slaughterhouses is adequate [he] would not support the installation of CCTV.’
Backing for the group’s CCTV campaign also comes from the RSPCA and
Compassion in World Farming.
his written report to the FSA Board last week, Mr Smith referred to the
widespread nature of the problems and the lack of effective monitoring.
He said: ‘Animal Aid’s filming reveals that some slaughtermen
carry out some appalling actions when they think they are not being observed.
It appears that we are not dealing with isolated incidents and Defra and
FSA need to consider how we can improve monitoring in this specific part
Animal Aid began its investigation of abattoirs in January 2009, it has
met with senior veterinary and Defra figures, as well as with the FSA’s
Tim Smith. Additionally, the campaign group’s footage is being used
by Bristol University to help train abattoir vets and Soil Association inspectors.
Animal Aid’s Director Andrew Tyler:
the past 18 months, Animal Aid has produced evidence of widespread slaughterhouse
cruelty, incompetence and even sadistic brutality. We have demonstrated
that these problems are endemic – and the debate we have provoked,
involving leading vets, industry figures and regulators, shows that there
is a great deal of support for our view. The Advertising Standards Authority,
by taking the comfortable route of endorsing the status quo, has struck
a ringing blow on behalf of animal cruelty. Its adjudication is irrational
and immoral. Animal Aid’s slaughterhouse campaign will continue with
more determination than ever.’
additional information or to arrange an interview, contact Andrew Tyler
on 01732 364546.
an ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
about Animal Aid’s slaughterhouse investigations
and download images from our most recent investigation